Saturday, December 29, 2007

Greener Computing Tips from Lifehacker

Lifehacker have come up with a list of 10 straightforward but effective energy saving tweaks all computer users can try.

First, just turn it off. Shut down when you're not using the computer - easy but many of us are guilty of leaving our machines on in the background all day.

Secondly, spin down your hard drive: "Set your computer to put your hard drive to sleep when it's not in use. This will extend the life of your drive as well as save energy."

Thirdly, remove all those pesky "energy vampires". Unplug anything that isn't actively in need of charging or being used. Think phones that are already charged and iPods already full of juice.

Also, try exploring those power saving settings that every modern computer system uses.

Also, try a smart power switch. These turn off all peripherals automatically when the main CPU is switched off. Try the Intelliplug.

Another tip: Check to see what programs run automatically when your computer starts up and ditch any that aren't necessary. Does it really need to constantly hunt down Bluetooth devices? Is there any point in searching for a wireless network when you're far away from any possible source?

Like the "energy vampires" you can also be merciless in unplugging your peripherals. Are you using your scanner right now? If not, turn it off. The same goes for printers, cameras even wireless routers.

If you use several different computers (say a Mac, one running Linux and another with standard Windows) these days there's no need to run all three. With modern programs that allow you to run all these systems on a single computer you no longer need to leave several computers running.

On a desktop it's your monitor that drains the most power, so try adjusting the settings so it's just a little less bright.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Everex gPC Named One of the Worst PC Desktops of the Year

green products, green pc
The Everex gPC is a low cost computer that runs gOS, a customized version of Linux with the enlightenment theme, features mundane hardware and clocks in at $200 without a monitor. Some reviews have come in and there is little to distinguish the gPC from low cost Windows based PCs.

It has integrated graphics that default to a resolution of 1280 x 800 which presented some problems in the PCMag review. It can go higher but not by much courtesy of the underpowered UniChrome graphics chip, it has 512MB of memory and a smallish 80GB hard drive.

The review called the Via C7 1.5GHz processor slow because even out of the box, launching the web browser took longer than it should have.

Some have said the review wasn’t fair because it evaluated for what the desktop wasn’t rather than what it was. Well, the gPC is a web access only computer, don’t plan on using it for anything else. It was suggested it could be used to install another distro of Linux but it would just be better to use that older PC you have lying around somewhere.

It does manage to toss OpenOffice into the package but that was not enough to score the gPC high enough to be recommended to, well, anyone, not even basic users.

There is also the question of what the "g" in "gPC" stands for, "green" or "Google." The problem is that Google does not endorse the product in any way and gOS is made by Good OS. Note, that gOS can be downloaded for free and burnt to CDs or a DVD and installed on any system provided the hardware is supported which you have to be careful of with any distro of Linux.

And the "green" terminology is not exactly accurate, while it does manage to use only between 20W and 50W during use, the materials used in its construction may not exactly be "green."

The operating system also lacked some polish and several features seemed out of place or did not function as expected and some of the hardware included with the system is not compatible with the included operating system, though, drivers are apparently in the works.

It may be cheap, but that’s about its only redeeming quality with the review concluding, "Aside from being cheap and unaffected by Windows viruses, there’s not a lot to recommend in the Everex gPC." PCMag assigned it a rating of 1.5 out of 5. I would agree with their recommendation that anyone considering this pick up a $450 desktop with Vista that offers a bit more expandability.

Just because something sells well does not mean it is a good product.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CSCI Reducing Computer Power Use by 50% in 3 year

Well, we're not quite to the point where our laptops are solar-powered and our server farms run on sewage. So for now, let's set our sights on some realistic intermediate goals, like the ones set forth by the good folks at The Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a consortium consisting of virtually every major player in the PC industry (Intel, AMD, Google, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Sun Microsystems... the list goes on and on). CSCI has an ambitious gameplan: reduce power consumed by computers worldwide by 50% over the next three years.

I know that sounds far out, but when you consider that the average lifespan of a computer today is somewhere between three and five years, that's 60-100% of all computers in use today replaced by 2010. The average desktop produced today wastes over half the power delivered to it, and the average server more than a third... so simply improving hardware energy efficiency, implementing virtualization, and using automated power management software might be enough to meet these goals. As part of a push to see improved technologies brought to market, CSCI has launched a catalog featuring many of the latest green offerings:

With 300 products, the Initiative’s new online catalog offers individuals and enterprises a comprehensive and searchable listing of Climate Savers Computing-compliant desktop PCs, laptops, servers, power supplies, power supply components, motherboards and power management software.

Unfortunately, this kinda celebrates obsolescence, and as computers use about as much energy being produced as they do during their lives, short life spans are also something that we need to deal with. Understandably, that's a problem that HP and Dell are less interested in solving.

Browsing through, one sees a lot of product listings containing third-party green certifications, such as EPEAT silver and gold, Energy Star 4.0, RoHS, and 80+. Although there are many consumer-level products available, including desktop and laptop offerings from HP, Dell, and Lenovo, this seems mainly geared towards IT professionals - servers, power supplies, converters, and rectifiers make up the bulk of the catalog. Though you can't do any holiday shopping on the site itself, it's a great place to start when searching for energy-efficient computers, components, and software.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Corporate Gifts Go Eco-Friendly

Forget the paper weight or desk clock, this year companies are saying happy holidays with an acre of rainforest.

We've all gotten them - useless company gifts that no one really wants.

There's the paper weight, useful when those giant gusts of wind whip through the office. The desk clock, just in case the clock on your computer, phone, wall and wrist simultaneously short circuit. Or the ultimate gift grab bag - beer cozy, pencil sharpener, visor, foam stress ball and vinyl Frisbee all inside a 60-oz mega slushie plastic cup.

It seems like a lot of companies are finally starting to wise up, eschewing the usual disposables and consumables in favor of something a bit more useful - the eco-gift.

"There's been so much attention in the media the past year, people figured it out," said Pam Davis, owner of Our Green House, a Sandy Hook, Conn.-based retailer of environmentally friendly products.

Davis said she's seen a roughly 50 percent rise in companies looking to buy green products in bulk this year over last year - things like reusable water bottles for the office, reusable shopping bags, or bottle openers made from old bike chains.

Rob Glickman, vice president of marketing at, said his company had so much interest in holiday gifts that they added a special section on their Web site highlighting the company's offerings, including a pen made from recycled wood and fair trade coffee beans.

"We aren't really a gift company, but we kept getting requests," said Glickmann, whose firm mostly sells office items like recycled paper and non-toxic ink and cleaning supplies.

The gift doesn't even have to be a take-home item.

Green Mountain Energy, an Austin, Texas-based company that sells renewable power to consumers and provides carbon offsets, began selling trees as gifts last year.

For $9.95, the buyer gets one tree planted in Texas in their name, plus a card explaining how the tree sucks up as much carbon dioxide as driving a car for 740 miles would emit, and an organic piece of paper embedded with chile pepper seeds that, when planted, will sprout into chile pepper plants.

Green Mountain has received hundreds of bulk orders for the trees and chilies, up from hardly any last year, said Gillan Taddune, the company's chief environmental officer.

"It's really got a lot of momentum," said Taddune, adding that the company plans on expanding its line of green gift offerings next year.

Firms that buy the eco-friendly gifts seem pleased.

"The response has been extremely positive," said Ellen Mann, a spokesperson for General Electric's (GE, Fortune 500) commercial finance division, which scrapped its usual gift baskets and instead gave an acre of rainforest to 1,000 customers. "Everybody gets a bottle of wine. They were excited to receive something different."

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Friday, December 21, 2007

HGST Boosts Energy Efficiency Efforts With 'Green' HDDs

With the explosive growth of the Internet, digital computing and global IT infrastructures, the rise of large-scale data centers has led to an increasing awareness of their impact on power consumption. Correspondingly, the millions of consumer electronics in use today, including PCs and laptops, only add to the drain on power infrastructures. As a result, what was once largely the domain of home appliances—developing energy-efficient washers and dryers, heaters and refrigerators—has now become a much larger concern for the IT industry.

The continued development in the IT industry has led to the increasing awareness of the technologies' impact on power consumption. Millions of consumer electronics, including PCs and laptops, only add to the drain on power infrastructures, As a result, what was once largely the domain of home appliances—developing energy-efficient washers and dryers, heaters, and refrigerators—has now become a much larger concern for the IT industry.

Contributing to the energy conservation efforts, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) has introduced the Deskstar P7K500 desktop hard drive, which is touted to offer the lowest power consumption among hard drives in its class. The P7K500 improves its operational power consumption by 40 percent over the previous generation, positively impacting total PC system power requirements.

Data center, PC focus

To date, the primary focus in the IT industry has been on power consumption within the data center. More companies are opting to locate data centers near sources of inexpensive energy, such as hydroelectric power. In an August 2007 report to the U.S. Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended a series of efficiency opportunities and policies that could drive a potential $4 billion savings in annual electricity costs related to data centers.

In addition, PC power consumption is a significant expense for corporations and, in July 2007, the EPA released its ENERGY STAR 4.0 specification addressing this issue. The ENERGY STAR rating has been more closely associated with major home appliances and heating and cooling systems. The previous ENERGY STAR 3.0 specification for PCs only addressed "sleep" power and not the actual power during use. Thus, nearly all PCs, including powerful gaming systems, could easily meet the requirements. This disparity resulted in an inability to differentiate energy-efficient products from standard or even power-guzzling ones.

The new ENERGY STAR 4.0 specification calls for an 80 percent minimum power-supply efficiency and sets maximum values for standby, sleep and idle power for desktop PCs that vary depending on the performance level of the system. Tier-1 specifications in effect in 2007 are designed so that approximately 25 percent of PCs will meet requirements. A Tier-2 specification, to be released on July 1, 2009, is expected to set additional standards for PCs that do not meet the strict Tier-1 requirements.

PCs that meet the new ENERGY STAR 4.0 requirements will become increasingly popular with corporations and government agencies. Corporations may choose to purchase ENERGY STAR PCs as part of their "green" initiatives. The U.S. government signed an executive order on January 24, 2007, mandating that federal agencies must purchase PCs that meet ENERGY STAR 4.0 requirements. Similarly, the European Parliament voted on July 10, 2007 to apply energy-efficiency criteria no less stringent than ENERGY STAR requirements for the purchase of all public sector office equipment, including PCs, within the European Union.

Reduced power consumption

Hitachi GST's desktop HDDs have incorporated Advanced Power Management capabilities to reduce power consumption, beginning with the Deskstar 120GXP hard drive, which was six product generations ago. With the introduction of the Deskstar P7K500 drive, Hitachi GST has taken power efficiency one step further while maintaining 7200 RPM performance.

The Deskstar P7K500 hard drive's power consumption provides a 40-percent improvement over previous-generation products by reducing power in both idle and active modes. This reduction was achieved by using the same SoC used in Hitachi's Travelstar 2.5-inch mobile product line that offers low power to maximize battery life in notebook PCs. The SoC incorporates Hitachi Voltage Efficiency Regulator Technology, which utilizes switching regulators in place of the less-power-efficient linear regulators in the voltage reduction processes. Also included in the SoC is a more power-efficient module for the serial ATA and parallel ATA interfaces.

Power data for 50 GB Deskstar P7K500

Together with the new technologies incorporated into the Deskstar P7K500 HDD, Hitachi GST's Advanced Power Management capabilities have reduced the overall power consumption of the HDD. Through the use of the company's patented load/unload technology, the P7K500 allows for additional power reductions:

# Unload idle—The heads are safely unloaded to the ramp and the servo is shut off; this mode delivers power savings of 11 percent better than idle mode.3

# Low RPM idle—The heads are safely unloaded to the ramp, the servo is shut off and the spindle motor RPM is reduced; this setting achieves power savings of 44 percent better than idle mode.

When Advanced Power Management is enabled, the hard drive can automatically enter the lower-power idle states at intervals based on the time since the host system last accessed the hard rive. The drive can transition from normal idle (3.6W power) to unload idle (3.2W) to low RPM idle (2.0W) during periods of inactivity and return to normal operation automatically whenever the host system accesses it again. These transitions to lower-power idle states are done without intervention from the host system.

Power margin

However, the largest benefit of reducing the power consumption of the HDD in a desktop PC comes not from the savings in operating cost, but from the additional power margin in designing to the strict ENERGY STAR 4.0 requirements on idle power. Designing a 250GB Deskstar P7K500 into this system with 3.6W idle power instead of this typical HDD with 7W idle power eliminates 3.4W of nonproductive power that can instead be used to provide additional features and functions on the PC. As an example, a systems designer could add an additional optical drive (1.3W), increase the system RAM by 1GBbyte DDR2 SDRAM (1.5W) and still have 0.8W of power that could be allocated to additional ports on the motherboard.Green PC Power Margin

Typical power partitioning for a 50W ENERGY STAR system

Path to green electronics

The trend toward the "greening" of IT will continue to be a driving force behind IT product development efforts as PC and server OEMs build products to comply with global energy-rating programs. Every component within these systems must also be specified to contribute to reductions in overall power consumption.


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

British Government Turns Green

Public sector bodies in the UK will soon be forced to reduce their carbon footprints under new environmental legislation passed this year.

ICT has poor "green" credentials but public sector bodies in the UK will soon be forced to reduce their carbon footprints under new environmental legislation passed this year. And agency heads were warned to get their skates on in drawing up new green strategies at a recent conference, with sustainability now an imperative.

Chris Head, principal associate of the Society of IT Management (Socitm) told delegates at Headstar's recent conference, Techno-Footprint: ICT and Sustainability in the Public Sector, ICT managers and project managers must immediately begin drawing up strategies to reduce ICT energy use and heat emissions; reduce and manage ICT waste; embrace flexible and mobile working to cut transport requirements; and use technology systems to reduce other emissions and waste.

According to Dan Jellinek's e-Government Bulletin the event was used as the launch-pad for Socitm's new report Green ICT? Current research into the environmental impact of ICT. The report urges greater citizen take-up of online services as a way to cut agencies' carbon footprints.

"The Climate Change Act is going to have an impact on the UK public sector very soon, alongside EU directives on energy use," Head said. "Someone is going to be coming round and asking how much energy you use - and you don't want to be caught out as the villain."

Head told the conference it is the usage phase of the ICT life cycle that has the largest impact on carbon use, with servers and desktop PCs gobbling up energy.

"Computers use 10-20 times more carbon per unit weight than a fridge to manufacture, and then you use them for three or four years and throw them away," he said.

"Factories that make computer chips, for example, use huge amounts of noxious chemicals and huge amounts of water to wash the chemicals away.

"There can be precious little difference in purchase price between two computers, but enormous difference in carbon emissions used in manufacture."

He also said figures from the British Computer Society figures show data centres were "horrifically inefficient".

Meanwhile UK government research to be published next month suggests greater citizen take-up of online services could slash public bodies' carbon footprints. Carried out by consultants Best Foot Forward for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and based on data supplied by Sunderland City Council, the study showed carbon savings from online service provision greatly outweigh the losses from ICT use.

Peter Blair, head of e-government take-up at DCLG, told the conference using e-government to share services, reduce duplication, cut waste and reduce travel could significantly reduce government ICT's impact on the environment.

"Each minute spent driving to the Town Hall uses more than 20 times the energy of a minute spent transacting on the Internet. And there is amazing demand for online services if you get it right -- in Hackney, 81 percent of parents and carers applied for secondary school places online."

Overall, the research shows that annual reductions of CO2 emissions averaging 28 percent can be obtained by moving services online in five areas: planning, schools, registrar's services, environmental services and council tax, he said. Work is now being carried out to use national figures on school applications, council tax payments and other sources to scale up the projections and extrapolate to a figure for potential national savings, Blair told E-Government Bulletin.


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Turn One Computer Into Ten - Free computer This Holiday

Modern desktop computers sit idle virtually the entire day while we read or type. DiscoverStation leverages this unused computing power to create an environmentally efficient alternative to traditional desktop computing. Multiple users can work on a single computer by simply attaching up to 10 monitors, mice and keyboards.

# Reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 tons per year per system*
# Reduce electronic waste by up to 80%

Reducing the number of computers in use has additional earth friendly benefits. Electronic waste is an increasing problem globally due to the quick obsolescence of electronics. This is compounded by the fact that computer waste is high in many toxic materials such as heavy metals and flame-retardant plastics, which easily leach into ground water and bio-accumulate.

# Reduce your electricity bill, hardware and support costs

Going green will significantly reduce your electricity bill, and in an air-conditioned building the savings will be even higher. DiscoverStations ability to turn 1 computer into 10 also saves you money by greatly reducing hardware and support costs.

Using software created by an Alberta company, you can get a second computer in your house this holiday season free. In fact, the software is capable of splitting your PC into 10, saving you money and saving the environment at the same time.

Cumputer Industry Datasheet
Userful's software turns 1 computer into as many as 10 which cuts up to 70% of an organization's initial hardware investment. Because computer hardware devalues so rapidly, reducing the number of computers deployed can substantially improve an organization's bottom line. Userful's adoption of Linux and Open Source software creates further savings. Over a 3-year lifecycle on a 100-user deployment, Userful's Desktop Multiplier approach can save as much as $90,000 in hardware acquisition; $90,000 on software acquisition; and $100,000 to $200,000 per year in reduced software support and maintenance costs.

The Desktop Multiplier Approach:
Turn 1 Computer into 10. Desktop Multiplier is a multi-user product that turns a single computer box into a network of up to ten workstations. Traditional networks require a server, networking equipment and individual PCs for each user. The Desktop Multiplier approach eliminates this. Each station requires only a standard monitor, keyboard and mouse. Each user can operate simultaneously and independently, running the same or different applications securely and privately. Users can independently surf the Internet, access email, create and edit documents, yet share peripherals. The Desktop Multiplier approach substantially reduces acquisition, licensing and maintenance costs for any organization.

Userful's Public Access Computer Solution:
Userful studied the needs of a public access system and built DiscoverStation to address them. DiscoverStation is designed from the ground up specifically for public use. It is built on the Linux operating system, but closely mirrors the "look and feel" of Windows. DiscoverStation's locked-down environment blocks unwanted content access, downloads, and system changes. It automatically clears personal information and modifications between users in response to important privacy and security challenges. In addition, it is multi-lingual, supporting over 30 languages, includes web filtering, timed sessions and has accessibility features for disabled users.

Useful for any Public Computing Environment:
Userful's Desktop Multiplier approach eliminates the expense and burden of individual PCs, making it ideal for Internet cafes, call centers, voting registration, schools, hospitals, corporate training, or any other multi-computer venue. Reducing the number of computers has substantial environmental benefits as well. By replacing 10 PCs with a Desktop Multiplier with 10 workstations, CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 2.5 tons per year.
To download the software free, visit Userful's website

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Asustek Computer introduces Eco Friendly bamboo Notebook

Taiwan's Asustek Computer has introduced an eco friendly laptop, the Eco Book encased in bamboo and targeted at executives and other high-end users, the Reuters has reported.

According to the company, the Eco Book has a case made of laminated bamboo strips, which will be available in different shades. The new bamboo-made personal computer (PC) is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo can endure heat of its microprocessors and monitor.

In a similar move, laptop computer case and accessory maker Targus recently introduced environmentally-friendly grove laptop cases, made from recyclable plastics, nickel-free hardware and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free material.

"Originally we came out with a leather model style-book. It was very popular. After that, it was kind of natural for us to experiment with other types of materials, so we decided to go green," said Cher Chronis, director of marketing communication at Asus Computer International.

According to Reuters, an estimated 500 million computers became obsolescence in the US market alone in the past 10 years. Toxic materials like PVC and lead from plastic casings of the PCs and the cathode ray tube monitors can pose environmental threats. PC manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Apple, Lenovo and Acer have programs to reduce energy consumption, recycle components and reduce hazardous materials in computers.

Dell and Lenovo plan to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their new products by 2009 while Apple aims to remove these materials from its products by the end of 2008, Cnet news has reported.

Source: ComputerWire daily updates

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2008 - the year of green IT

According to recent scientific reports, there is now added urgency for a more comprehensive international climate agreement post-2012. According to the most stringent scenario outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global average surface temperature can still be limited to an increase of two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Staying within this limit means a reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50% below the 1990 level by 2050.

Currently, all the media attention is focused on the aviation and transportation sector as the villains. However, the IT data center, and the computer in general, wastes a significant amount of energy every day. UK government figures quote that an organization can save GBP50 per PC per year in energy costs by simply ensuring that PCs are switched off after work and at weekends. The data center represents an even bigger prize for organizations that address the issue of under-utilization of servers; a Butler Group report found that by consolidating 250 dual-core servers onto 25 more powerful dual-core servers, an organization could save GBP140,000 per year in energy costs alone.

In fact, rumors from the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRSEG) report that post-2012, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be extended, and that this extension will inevitably affect more organizations than the current scheme. One possible approach will be for a carbon emissions cap on organizations, which will force them to look at their energy consumption. IT can offer solutions that will enable a reduction in energy use.

Organizations need to consider the power and cooling impact that IT data centers represent, and adopt new technologies that can significantly reduce their use of energy, and hence an organization's carbon footprint. Virtualization is one such technology that organizations should be actively investigating, because as the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali looks set to report, action is needed now. The impact that IT computing resources contribute to the overall organizational energy consumption needs to be addressed before legislation is introduced, forcing organizations to report on and then reduce their energy consumption, or face penalty charges.

IT departments can take the lead within organizations, and create a new role for themselves in the process, by enabling organizations to be proactive in reducing energy consumption, and hence reduce their carbon footprint.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Tackling the E-Waste Problem

While interest in green IT is growing across the Asia-Pacific region, awareness is generally low and action is rare, according to Springboard Research's findings.

However, "leading companies, including Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Dell, Ericsson, Philips and Cisco Systems have joined a United Nations initiative that aims to standardize world policy and legislative approaches to electronic recycling processes," noted Chris Perrine, Springboard's chief operations officer and executive vice president of sales and marketing E-Mail Marketing Software - Free Trial.

"Dell has taken the lead in the area of Green IT as it is the only computer maker to offer consumers free recycling, whether or not they are buying a new Dell product," Perrine told TechNewsWorld.

Dell: Latest News about Dell plans on extending its recycling services to business customers in mainland China and Hong Kong. The company says it is on target to recover nearly 275 million pounds worth of used computers from customers by 2009.

HP: Latest News about Hewlett-Packard provides a recycling service for all IT products for a fee ranging from US$13 to $34, according to Perrine.

"In addition, HP customers who recycle old computers independently can get credit toward future HP purchases, which offset most of the recycling costs. HP aims to recycle as much as 1 billion pounds of hardware and supplies in 2007," he said.

Apple: Latest News about Apple has frequently been criticized for lagging behind in its environmental programs, Perrine noted. The company has a relatively low 36 percent score the Computer TakeBack Campaign -- an international effort by a coalition of 16 top environmental groups to address the growing problem of computer e-waste -- gave Apple for its disposal of computer equipment.

"However, Apple recently claimed that by 2010 it might be recycling significantly more than either Dell or HP, as a percentage of past sales weight


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D-Link Unveils Industry's First Green Ethernet Technology

D-Link International announces the launch of the company's Green Ethernet technology and its new environmentally - friendly series of home/SOHO Gigabit switches in Southeast Asia -DGS-1005D, DGS-1008D, DGS-1016D, and DGS-1024D. D-Link is the first company in the networking industry to introduce the Green Ethernet technology in its Gigabit switches.

This innovative technology decreases energy costs and reduces power consumption without sacrificing operational performance and functionality, by recognizing when a port is active or inactive to adjust its power accordingly. It is also capable of altering the power usage relative to the length of its cable.

"This Green Ethernet technology initiative not only benefits both our ecosystem and Home/SOHO users, it also emphasizes our strong commitment to protecting the environment," said Peter Lim, Vice President (Southeast Asia), D-Link International. "With the launch of the new series of Gigabit switches, we will be extending this green technology to other product ranges, and developing more eco friendly products that comply with RoHS (Restruction of Hazardous Substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives"

RoHS directives restrict the use of specific hazardous materials during the manufacture of electrical and electronic goods, while WEEE applies standards for proper disposal and recycling of products.

Green Ethernet TechnologyD-Link's Green Ethernet technology is specially designed to provide smart, automated power consumption reduction, by automatically detecting a link's status and cable length, and adjusting power usage accordingly, thereby benefitting users who may not need perpetual use of their computers or the use of all the ports on their switches.

By reducing power consumption, less heat is produced, resulting in extended product life and lower operating costs. Internal tests conducted by D-Link has shown that the DGS-1005D Gigabit switch is capable of a maximum power saving of up to 44% when connected devices are powered down, and a power saving of up to 27% when connected devices are used for 10 hours and powered down for 14 hours over a 24-hour period, via 20m Ethernet cables. The DGS-1008D Gigabit switch is cable of a maximum power saving of up to 80% and 40% respectively.

Power conserved when links are idleEven when a computer is shut down, switches often remain on and continue to consume considerable amounts of power. Through D-Link's Green Ethernet technology, the new switches can detect when a computer is turned off and will respond accordingly by switching into standby mode and reducing power used for that port.

Optimized power usage based on dynamic detection of cable length Switches normally to send full power to Ethernet cables regardless of the actual length. Using D-Link's Green Ethernet technology, the switches can analyze the cable's length and adjust the power accordingly. Since the cable length used by Home/SOHO users is usually less than 20m, power consumption can significantly be reduced. The D-Link Green Ethernet series Gigabit switches will become available at authorized retail, reseller, and distribution partners in the first quarter of 2008.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sony Advances its Use of Renewable Energy Sources

As part of its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Sony Corporation is actively promoting the use of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass power generation across Sony Group companies in Japan and around the world. In fiscal 2006, the widespread implementation of renewable energy across the Sony Group helped reduce Sony's CO2 emissions by approximately 13,000 tons worldwide. Sony will continue to advance its use of renewable energy, with the aim of increasing its contribution to CO2 reduction approximately fourfold to 50,000 tons through fiscal 2010 (compared to fiscal 2006).

In Japan, Sony Group companies have used the "Green Power Certification System", jointly established by Sony and a power company in Japan, to purchase renewable energy generated at distantly located facilities since fiscal 2001*. In October 2007, Sony agreed a contract to annually purchase an additional 16 million kWh of wood biomass energy. Combined with its existing contracts, the annual amount of renewable energy now purchased by the Sony Group in Japan amounts to 36.4 million kWh, making it Japan's largest buyer of renewable energy under this system.

Sony also began introducing renewable energy at its overseas offices and sites in fiscal 2002, and in November this year, converted its two Austrian sites to entirely renewable energy sources. Consequently, a total of nine European sites are now fully powered by renewable energy, representing 41% of Sony's total energy consumption in Europe.

Sony will continue to implement wide-ranging measures to increase its use of renewable energy sources and promote energy conservation, and will aim to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through these efforts.

1.) Sony Signs Contract to Purchase Additional 16 million kWh of Biomass Renewable Energy in Japan
In October this year, Sony signed an agreement to purchase 16 million kWh of biomass renewable energy. Together with its existing contract for 15.5 million kWh per year, Sony is now purchasing a total of 31.5 million kWh of renewable energy per year under the "Green Power Certification System". This energy is then used by Sony Group companies across Japan. In total, Sony Group companies in Japan have now agreed contracts for the supply of 36.4 million kWh2 of renewable energy in fiscal 2007, equivalent to the reduction of approximately 13,760 tons in CO2 emissions.

This latest agreement has been reached with Noshiro Forestry Resource Utilization Cooperative (Akita Prefecture), for energy generated using their wood biomass power facility. Established in February 2003, this facility generates approximately 20 million kWh of electric power per year. Under this agreement, Sony will receive an annual supply of 16 million kWh of electricity from this facility.

2.) Two Austria Sites Converted to 100% Fully Renewable Energy Sources
In November 2002, Sony DADC (Digital Audio Disc Corporation) Austria (optical disc production facility), as well as Sony Austria (sales company) shifted their entire energy supply to water-generated 100% renewable energy. As a result, the 59 million kWh of energy purchased by the two facilities in fiscal 2006 will now be from entirely renewable sources, representing an annual contribution to CO2 reduction of approximately 11,000 tons.


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Bamboo PC is Environment Friendly and Looks Nice Too

Back in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple I, an early personal computer that consisted of a circuit board in a simple wooden box.

Apple and other computer makers went on to make advanced PCs in metal and plastic casings, but now Taiwan's Asustek Computer is finding potential beauty--and sales--in an eco-friendly notebook PC encased in another natural material: bamboo.

The Asus Eco Book, as it's dubbed, has a case made of laminated bamboo strips available in different shades.

Harvesting bamboo, an abundant, flexible, durable, and fast-growing grass, is unlikely to harm the environment as processing wood from trees might, Asustek said, although glues and laminates for shaping and fortifying the material sometimes contain toxins.

The product is still in the prototype stage and engineers are checking to see if bamboo is suitable for laptops, which have to endure extreme conditions while allowing heat from microprocessors and monitors to escape.

The Eco Book is a new tack for a company that caters to executives and other high-end users with its calf leather-bound notebooks and faux alligator-skin models.

"Originally we came out with a leather model style-book," said Cher Chronis, director of marketing communication for Asus Computer International, the Taipei-based company's U.S. unit.

"It was very popular," she said. "After that, it was kind of natural for us to experiment with other types of materials, so we decided to go green."

Asustek says its leather notebooks have not been criticized by animal-rights activists and that the Eco Book is not meant to assuage critics.

Bamboo mice, keyboards
While just about all big computer makers are taking steps to make technology more environmentally friendly, Asustek is one of the first to unveil a bamboo-encased computer.

Some niche companies geared toward eco-conscious consumers offer bamboo computer mice, keyboards, and monitor frames.

"As part of a portfolio of case choices, it makes sense," said Roger Kay, president of PC market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates.

"I don't think the computer is going to go over to wooden casing," Kay said. "It's ecological to grow it, but my sense is there's probably more show than substance to the claim of sustainable manufacturing."

While plastic casings often contain toxins like polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, the bigger environmental threats come from lead in cathode ray tube monitors.

All major manufacturers, such as Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest PC maker; Dell, the No. 2; Apple; as well as Asian rivals Lenovo Group and Acer; have programs to reduce energy consumption, recycle components, and reduce hazardous materials in computers.

Consumers and businesses are expected to buy about 260 million PCs this year, a 12 percent jump from 2006's level, according to market researcher IDC. Growth is being fueled by surging demand for notebook computers.

With so many computers being sold, and an estimated 500 million computers hitting obsolescence in the United States alone in the past 10 years, PC accessory makers are going green, too.

Laptop computer case and accessory maker Targus recently introduced its environmentally-friendly Grove laptop cases, made of recyclable plastics, nickel-free hardware, and PVC-free material.

Targus teamed up with Dell last month to sell its cases on the Texas-based computer maker's Web site and will donate a portion of its Dell-sold cases to Dell's "Plant a tree for me" program, which allows consumers to make donations to plant trees to offset the carbon impact of electricity for running their computers.

Dell and Lenovo plan to eliminate PVC and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, another potential hazard, from their new products by 2009, and Dell requires its parts suppliers to meet environmental targets such as carbon-emission reductions.

Apple says it plans to eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs from all its products by the end of next year.

The major computer companies including Apple and Dell also have programs to recycle discarded PCs and monitors. By 2010, Apple expects to recycle 19 million pounds of so-called e-waste per year, or about 30 percent of the product weight it sold seven years earlier.

HP said it is on schedule to meet a goal of recycling 1 billion pounds of equipment and supplies by the end of this year.

Asustek, while small compared with HP, Dell, and other heavyweights, says its size enables it to design, manufacture, market, and distribute PCs on its own, allowing it to get new ideas like the bamboo PC to market faster.

"If it does get to the point where we do find a model that meets all the engineering requirements and allows green computing, we will release it," the company's Chronis said. "Everybody loves the Eco Book. It's a beautiful computer."

Story Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

IBM Premieres Project Big Green in Hollywood

IBM Helps Media & Entertainment Businesses "Go Green" and Reduce Impact of Technology Use on Environment

Press Release (IBM): "HOLLYWOOD GOES GREEN" -- At the Hollywood Goes Green conference today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced it is applying its Project Big Green initiative to uniquely address energy efficiency for the media and entertainment industry. The company detailed its vision to help businesses that operate some of the world's largest, most powerful data centers -- with massive banks of computers that fuel special effects, animation and new, rich media entertainment -- significantly reduce the environmental impact of their IT operations and dramatically improve their bottom line by the end of the decade.
"Consumers can have a significant impact on the environment if they do simple things like use energy efficient light bulbs or drive hybrid vehicles. But just think, if businesses are as savvy about how they operate their data centers, they could have massive impact," said Tom Burns, director of post-production infrastructure, Technicolor. "At Technicolor, we are always looking for opportunities to reduce our power footprint. It makes good business sense, and we look forward to hearing from IBM on how we can improve efficiency in our data centers worldwide -- both to reduce our environmental impact and to support our global service offerings to the media and entertainment industry."

IBM also declared a vision at Hollywood Goes Green today to design new technologies as part of Project Big Green that will use 50 percent less power by the end of the decade and increase compute capacity by a factor of 10 -- dramatically increasing performance without the need to build new datacenters, conserving resources from trees to gasoline. IBM will also introduce new server designs and extend the use of its patented liquid cooling technologies to eliminate the need for air conditioning in data centers altogether, greatly impacting bottom line energy costs.

For media and entertainment businesses 'going green' means more than just turning off the lights or recycling soda cans. Blockbuster films that attract millions of moviegoers around the world and generate billions of dollars in revenue, as well as the rapidly emerging online game market, are two examples of key industries that rely on high performance technologies to power "virtual backlot studios," transforming the way next generation digital entertainment is created and delivered. Rich 3D-game experiences and digital imagery that sweep film-goers into imagined worlds have become more vivid and life-like than ever before and rely on data centers with vast pools of computers that devour energy resources to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

IBM's Project Big Green includes technologies and services to sharply reduce data center energy consumption, helping to transform the world's business and public technology infrastructures into "green" data centers. Some of the significant technologies Project Big Green delivers today include servers, software, specialty microprocessors, and breakthrough IBM research innovations, such as:
* IBM Blue Gene Supercomputer: the world's most powerful computer that delivers the most performance per kilowatt of power consumed and was recently ranked on the Green500 list ( of the world's most energy-efficient supercomputers. The new Green500 list shows IBM Blue Gene supercomputers capturing 26 of the top 27 spots.
* IBM Cell Broadband Engine: a microprocessor that can deliver extreme performance compared with conventional processors.
* IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger: patented liquid "cooling doors" that can reduce server heat output in data centers by up to 60 percent by utilizing chilled water to dissipate heat generated by computer systems.
* IBM Mobile Measurement Technology: a technology from IBM Research that measures 3D temperature distributions within data centers. The mobile measurement machine includes a position monitoring system with a network of up to 100 sensors used to gather thermal data at a granular level, with unprecedented speed and accuracy as it travels through the data center.
* IBM Active Energy Manager: an energy management software tool that can provide clients with a view of the actual power used, as opposed to benchmarked power consumption, and can effectively allocate, match and cap power and thermal limits in the data center at the system, chassis or rack level.
* IBM Global Asset Recovery Services (GARS): can help data center owners simply and efficiently deal with the proper environmental disposal of all of their old IT equipment consistent with local, state and federal regulations worldwide. In addition, IBM GARS can help enterprises protect and keep confidential the data stored on hard drives slated for disposal.

"IBM clients around the world are increasingly expressing concern over their growing need for energy and the associated costs, but the issue is becoming particularly acute for media and entertainment companies because they rely so heavily on high performance technologies to deliver their content," said Jim Gargan, Vice President, Brand Management, IBM BladeCenter and System x. "IBM as a company has made strides in addressing this need, but Project Big Green will allow IBM to further help the media and entertainment industry support sustained business growth with zero increase in consumption and environmental impact."

About Project Big Green
Announced in May 2007, Project Big Green is a $1 billion investment to increase the efficiency of IBM products. New IBM products and services, announced as part of Project Big Green, include a five step approach to energy efficiency in the data center that, if followed, could sharply reduce data center energy consumption and provide energy savings of up to 42 percent for an average data center. The initiative includes a new global "green team" of more than 850 energy efficiency architects from across IBM. To learn more about IBM Project Big Green, go to

Note to Editors: Learn more about IBM at Hollywood Goes Green at Images and broadcast-quality b-roll are available for download by registered journalists at


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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the greenest IT organizations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be one of the greenest IT organizations around -- and it should be.

The EPA's National Computer Center in North Carolina was one of the first data centres to receive a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Network World's National Correspondent Carolyn Duffy Marsan interviewed EPA's CIO Molly O'Neill about virtualization, screen savers, recycling and other tips for creating environmentally friendly IT shops. Here are excerpts from their conversation:

How are you applying the EPA's Energy Star guidelines to your IT department?
As we acquire computers or printers or monitors or imaging equipment, one of the things we do is ensure that we are procuring Energy Star products. But being energy efficient isn't just about Energy Star. When we're looking at our infrastructure, we're looking at virtualization and consolidation. Then we're looking at management support, operational controls and remote assistance [to improve energy efficiency]. And we're looking at disposal to see if a piece of equipment is recyclable. We are designing our data centres to be energy efficient. It's a life-cycle process that you need to look at.

If we're designing something new like a data centre, we think about building design. We also look for opportunities for IT consolidation and virtualization to optimize the existing [data centres] that we have. The second thing we look at is acquisition. We acquire Energy Star products, and we look to see if they are recyclable. Then we look at the management and support aspects of our infrastructure. Can we do printing in a more efficient way? Do we have controls on our systems like screen savers and system standbys that allow systems to hibernate and conserve energy? Do we have remote operations and assistants? The last piece is disposal. If we upgrade, how do we get rid of existing equipment? Can we meet the federal challenge to recycle all of our computer equipment? We ask ourselves: Are we designing our total IT infrastructure and the facilities that hold our IT equipment in a way that is environmentally friendly? Are we putting in appropriate cooling aspects in the floors under these data centres? Do we have system controls on our lights? Green IT is all of these things.

How far along are you at adopting this approach?
We are very far along. Our National Computer Center at Research Triangle Park, N.C., is a certified green building. We have designed the facility to be energy efficient. As we upgrade our servers, we are trying to be more energy efficient. We're taking advantage of consolidation and virtualization of our servers and data storage. We're putting in the management support and controls. All of our computers have screen savers. They go into hibernation. We recycle all of our computers. But even though we're far ahead, we know there's more we can be doing.

How do you track energy usage?
We track from an energy perspective every major EPA facility, and Research Triangle Park is one of them. It's tracked through our facilities group, and [the data] is communicated out to every assistant administrator on a quarterly basis. We talk about where there have been increases and where there have been decreases. There is a discussion at the very highest levels of this organization about energy use. Sometimes the people responsible for purchasing and buildings and the CIO are at different levels of an organization. They need to come together to track energy usage. When you're making these improvements, you want to track if they are actually working and if they translate into saving money. [Management] needs to know that if they are investing in green IT infrastructure that they are seeing results.

Do you know how much energy the EPA's IT department and data centre operations consume?
Currently, EPA does not measure the power consumption of the IT department separately from the total energy consumption at each facility. However, the agency has funded a project that will install additional meters in the NCC to enable us to distinguish between the IT and the total building energy use. This capability should come on line in 2008. Once EPA begins measuring and can assess the data gathered, EPA will set targets and identify mechanisms for reducing power consumption.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Linux is Greener

Hot question: Is Linux greens as compared to windows?
Switching from a Windows-operated computer to a Linux-operated one could slash computer-generated e-waste levels by 50%.

The answer is: TRUE

The bold proclamation is based on a study from a few years ago that found that Windows users have to toss out their old hardware twice as often.

A UK government study in late 2004 reported that there were substantial green benefits to running a Linux open source operating system (OS) on computers instead of the ubiquitous Windows OS, owned by Microsoft. The main problem with Windows users was that they had to change their computer twice as many times as Linux users, on average, thereby effectively creating twice as much computer-generated e-waste.

And judging by the gluttonous reputation Windows Vista has earned, it doesn't look like things will change any time soon. And by the way, Linux has been getting hip to new power saving tricks if you want to give it a try.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Western Digital's 'Green' RE2-GP 1TB hard drive

Western Digital's RE2-GP drive uses less power during startup, meaning that on average you save $10 annually on your electrical bill per drive

Western Digital Corporation is playing the total cost of ownership (TCO) card; it's also playing the maximized storage card; and just to cover the overall hard disk trifecta, it's layed down the power-saving "green" card as well. Disparate as those three can be -- minimal cost, maximum storage capacity, and minimum power consumption -- WDC has combined them into its line-up of RE2-GP drives and, in doing so, may actually have produced the first no-lose computer product since the IBM PC 5150.

On the ground floor, the RE2-GP is just a little more than your run-of-the-mill hard disk. Western Digital, as has, Hitachi, Samsung, and Seagate, bumped the data bar up to 1TB. (Both 500GB and 750GB models are also available, but they're passe for the techno-geek, or data center manager, as the title is sometimes applied.) The drive is rated at a relatively common 8.9 milliseconds seek time and has a 16MB cache -- half the size of that which accompanies Hitachi's Deskstar 7K1000, Samsung's Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ, and Seagate's 1TB ST31000340AS.

Before your brows furrow and your lips purse into the inevitable, "hmmm," just be aware that cache size helps burst speed -- the data rate from the drive's buffer to its interface (in this case, SATA 3.0GB/sec). And, that cache is most effective during sequential reads and writes. Video recording or playback, accessing consecutive database records, even streaming backups can benefit. Beyond that, you can end up with too much of a good thing that just uses power and adds price.

Looking at the RE2-GP through green-colored glasses reveals a trio of "Intelli-" technologies: -Power, -Seek, and -Park. The first balances spin speeds, transfer rates, and caching algorithms; the second optimizes seek speeds; the third unloads ("parks") the heads when the drive is idle to counteract drag and it also disengages the read/write electronics.

Tie those to Western Digital's pronouncement that the RE2-GP uses less power during startup and you arrive at a claimed $10 annual savings on your electrical bill per drive. While that's not much for the average single drive user to write home about, the 10,000 drive data center could, based on that estimate, save $100, 000 year. Even in a relatively puny 12-drive home network, the $120 per year savings might be enough to let you shed the sweater and raise the thermostat a degree or two during the winter months.

If you really want to focus on green power (the GP -get it?), then you need to reverse the presentation: Saving money on an electrical bill really means you're using less electricity. Multiply even a small savings across the millions of hard drives in use and the result is enormous. How much less energy? It's rated at 4.0-watt power consumption at idle, which is about 50% below the published specifications for most of its competition. Likewise, Western Digital's claim that the RE2-GP has an average operational power consumption of just 7.4 watts makes it between 22% and 33% more efficient than its three primary competitors. (The latter number is probably more useful to a busy data center while the idle rating typically affects consumer installations where drives spend most of their time waiting to be used. Also keep I mind that lower power consumption means more drives available in a fixed-power environment.)

Tested under Simpli Software's HDTach on a Vista Ultimate computer using an ASUS M2N-MX motherboard (GeForce 6100 Northbridge, nForce 430 Southbridge chips), with an AMD Athlon X2 6000+ AM2 processor and 4GB of memory, the RE2-GP's performance proved to be a mixed bag. Despite having only half the cache, the RE2-GP uses it quite effectively, clocked at 184MB/s Burst Speed. That's 59.3MB/s faster than the 1TB Seagate ST31000340OAS SD03 from last time. The RE2-GP fell back at Average Reads to 65.3MB/s, which is 20.1MB/s slower than Seagate's drive. That would seem to indicate that, in benchmarks at least, there is a price to be paid for going green despite all the enhanced algorithms and technical skullduggery that might exist in the world.

That said, we'd take the RE2-GP as a streaming drive any day of the week. We'd have to balance our power needs with our data requirements beyond that point. Best guess is that Western Digital has a hit on its hands given all the media files now in play and possibly an even bigger hit in crowded data centers. It's also helpful that the drive is priced at $330 (or $310 if you catch a special) direct and a 5-year warranty doesn't hurt either.
More Info: Click here

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The Energy Saving Computer

The modern computer is not as efficient as it could be. With the demands for performance, manufacturers like Intel and AMD are thinking, 'how can I build the fastest processor without overheating the system?' What they should be thinking is how can we make an efficient processor that runs fast while using less energy. The technology has already been created for laptops. Since laptops have to be able to run an a battery, they are designed to be as efficient as possible. For this reason laptops are 90% more efficient than a desktop computer. Sure the performance is weaker on the laptop but that will soon change. Todays laptops are way faster than the average desktop five years ago.

If you are in the market for a new computer consider Intel's new Core2 Duo or Quarto processors they are currently the most energy efficient ones out there, AMD's are usually less efficient and they can get really hot. Not good, unless you need your computer to contribute to the heating of your home. To illustrate my point just think about the difference between the Mustang and Porch sport cars. AMD computers are like the Ford Mustangs, big heavy fast engine. The Intel is fast too but like Porch they are light and have a smaller but highly powerful engine.

I shouldn't bad mouth AMD processors too much, they are getting better. To compete with Intel they are trying to find better ways of being more efficient.

The processor is an important part of having an energy saving computer, however, there are other things to consider as well.

The first is the screen saver. Studies has shown that the screen saver uses the same amount of energy than if the screen was left on. The screen saver was designed to 'save' the screen from damage, Not to save energy. For the older computers if an image was left on the screen for long periods of time the image would be 'burnt' into the monitors. Screen savers kept the image moving so that there would be no permanent damage. Todays monitors don't have this problem. You could leave an image on your screen for a long time and nothing would damage it. I'm not saying screen savers are bad, just that they don't do anything to save energy.

Another common myth about computer energy is the old Hard Drive. Some people believe that a computer will use less energy if left on as opposed to being turned on and off all the time. It was advised back in the 80's to leave your computer on because the hard drives couldn't tolerate the on/off cycles, not because they used less energy. Today, computer manufacturers design hard drives to withstand a minimum of 20,000 on/off cycles. So don't be afraid to turn off your computer, it won't hurt it, in fact it will prolong the life of your computer by using it less.

The best thing to do is to have your computer configured to 'sleep' or 'stand-by'. I love my laptop because all I have to do is close it up and it automatically goes into standby. Before you finish for the day your computer will save the most energy by being shut down. It uses the least amount of energy and it ensures that no one has been using it. Plus, computers will benefit from being refreshed once in a while.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

Facts about Business Computing

Some facts you may not know about business computing:

* Simply leaving a computer running consumes electricity and adds to computing costs.
* The use of screen savers does not save energy.
* It is estimated that a typical desktop PC with a 17-inch flat panel LCD monitor requires about 100 watts—65 watts for the computer and 35 watts for the monitor.
* If left on 24x7 for one year, this same system will consume 874 kilowatt hours of electricity—enough to release 750 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the equivalent of driving 820 miles in an average car.
* According to the Columbia University Guide to Green Computing, if the paper used each year for personal computing were laid end to end, it would circle the Earth more than 800 times

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Steps To Take Green Computing Seriously

As the demand for computing power soars, and businesses come under increasing pressure to introduce eco-friendly policies, Kate Craig-Wood of Memset, explains that by taking green computing seriously, you’ll be able to reduce your IT operating costs and benefit the environment at the same time.

The issue of green computing has been on the agenda for sometime, yet, many of us still don’t know exactly what it means and what it means for our business. Green computing simply involves monitoring and reducing your energy consumption. By using your computing resources efficiently, you’re able to address social responsibility, minimise environmental impact whilst also saving money in the process.

But surely SMEs don’t need to be worrying about this kind of thing? Actually, they do, as we can all do something to help. Recent research demonstrated that if the top 200 companies in the UK adopt greener, energy saving IT systems, they could save at least £305,000 per annum in electricity costs for desktops alone. Surely this is incentive enough to take a few hours to review the current energy consumption of your business?

IT EquipmentEach year more and more computers are purchased and put to use. But before you head out to make your next purchase, why not consider making use of what you have already? Hardly a crazy idea, as its one that most households follow after all.

But, if you do need to purchase new IT equipment – then buy smartly. Look for a manufacturer that, like Dell or HP, takes responsibility for its products throughout their lifecycle. The Energy Star rating just like those on refrigerators and washing machines, from July onwards will become standard on PC equipment demanding specs for energy efficiency of PCs and high-end CAD/CAM workstations, so look for the Energy Star when out shopping as well.

And if you do have old IT equipment – then recycle it! The UN's environmental programme estimates that 50 million tonnes of waste from discarded electronic goods is generated annually and, at the moment, much of this isn't being disposed of responsibly, but being swept under the carpet in the world's poorest countries.

We are now legally obliged to dispose of PC equipment properly, and that normally incurs charges. But, there is a free and simple, if underused, alternative; lots of people in the world are in dire need of our “outdated” computers, so donate them to the likes of

Whether you're a home user with a single PC or an IT manager looking after a thousand systems, the buying decisions you make and your computing habits can make a significant difference.

Energy Efficient Computing
But it’s not just the number of computers that is driving energy consumption upward, it’s the way that we use computers that also adds to the increasing energy burden.

A recent study by Fujitsu estimated that the UK alone wastes £123m on electricity powering PCs left on out-of-hours. Every time we leave computers or lights on we waste electricity. Burning fossil fuels generates most of our electricity and it also emits pollutants, sulphur, and carbon dioxide into the air. These emissions can cause respiratory disease, smog, acid rain and global climate change.

There are some simple changes you can make in your business to reduce your computer energy consumption by 80 percent or more whilst still retaining most or all productivity and other benefits of your computer system.

Finally, consider offsetting the ‘carbon footprint’ that your business generates by doing business. Things like travel, electricity usage and product manufacturing all generate greenhouse gases that contribute to your ‘carbon footprint’.

Organisations like the CarbonNeutral Company ( and the Carbon Trust ( can guide you through offsetting, and it is neither expensive nor difficult. Memset ( became the UK's first “carbon neutral” Web host last Summer and that has definitely helped us win more business. An average small office with 10 staff, for example, might have equivalent emissions of 20 tonnes CO2/year, which would probably only cost around £200/year to offset.

By using your computing resources more efficiently and helping to recycle your old equipment, you’ll not only help to reduce the UK’s rising power consumption, but save a little bit of money along the way.


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Everex gPC - Product Review

When the Everex gPC ($199 direct, without monitor) was announced, it received some fanfare as a bargain-subbasement "green" Linux-based PC, or the (quite unofficial) "Google PC," available at your local Wal-Mart. Everex, a firm known for producing cheap laptops for big-box stores, supposedly designed it for nontechnical yet Web-savvy users who like to go on the Web to see their friends' pages on social-networking sites or YouTube videos. Google and Google Apps are a central part of the gPC's raison, but thus far the gPC is not a Google-licensed product. "G" also stands for green, since the gPC uses a low-powered VIA C7 processor. But as with the Google aspect, gPC's energy-efficient status is to some extent smoke and mirrors, as I'll explain later. The gPC does have a green-colored theme and start-up screen, so it has that much going for it. But the good news ends there.

Hardware-wise, the gPC is true to the adage "you get what you pay for," and at least in this case, no compliment is intended. $199 buys you a low-power, relatively low-performing VIA C7-D processor, 512MB of memory, a 80GB hard drive (much more than the 4GB in a Zonbu or Eee PC), and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. While this is enough to run Ubuntu Linux, it is not going to run it speedily. The upside is that the processor consumes only 20W peak by itself, and during use, the PC did keep its overall power usage to the 20W-to-50W range. Add an LCD monitor and power consumption can go above 80W, but this isn't bad considering that a more powerful business PC marketed as energy-efficient, such as the HP rp5700, can use around 50W at idle by itself. More power-hungry gaming or multimedia desktops and large-screen monitors can consume upward of 500W to 1KW. Some nits here: The setup sheet rightly notes that, for the PC to fully function, you need a broadband Internet connection with an Ethernet cable. The picture on the setup sheet, however, points to the included modem (probably a normal 56K fax modem, but nonfunctioning; the gOS team is working on a modem driver), and the close-up shows a modem cable, not an Ethernet cable.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

5 Easy Steps to Green Computing

You can’t pick up the newspaper, turn on the television, or surf the Internet, without being bombarded by hot topics such as global warming, rising greenhouse gas emissions and the world’s energy crisis. You’re doing your part to help out by recycling and carpooling, but did you know that one of the most effective ways to improve energy management, increase energy efficiency and reduce waste starts with your computer?

According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), computers account for a relatively large portion of our electrical consumption—about 2% nationwide. The growing use of computers has caused a dramatic increase in energy consumption, which puts negative pressure on the environment. Each year consumers (and businesses) purchase more computers and put to them to use, but it’s not just the sheer number of computers that is driving energy consumption upward. The way that we use computers also adds to the increasing energy burden.

By adopting conservation practices and changing the way you use your computer, you can help make a difference in the environment – and your own wallet. If you’re ready to take the green computing initiative, here are a few simple tips to get you started.

Buy "Energy Star" compliant peripherals
Before you buy, check with the manufacturer or on the Energy Star web site.

Enable power management features
Thanks to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), personal computer systems purchased today can be easy on energy. These “Energy Star” computers and monitors can be programmed to automatically “power-down” to a low power state when they are not being used. These efficiency gains can be achieved without any sacrifice in computing performance.

The EPA has estimated that providing computers with “sleep mode” reduces their energy use by 60 to 70 percent – and ultimately could save enough electricity each year to power Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, cut electric bills by $2 billion, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 5 million cars.

Follow these simple steps to access computer and monitor power management features for Windows.
1. First check to see that your monitor is Energy Star compliant (see above)
2. Open 'Display' in the Control Panel, go to the 'Settings' tab, click on 'Advanced Properties' and choose the 'Monitor' tab
3. Check 'Monitor is Energy Star compliant' box click 'OK'.

The recommended settings are 20 minutes for monitor sleep and 30 minutes for system sleep. Remember that to save energy with your monitor’s built-in power management system, your monitor must go to sleep (shut itself down).

Turn off the screen saver
If screen saver images appear on your monitor for more than 5 minutes, you are wasting energy! Screen saver programs may save the phosphors in your monitor screen, but this is not really a concern with newer monitors, especially LCD screens. And they certainly don’t save energy.

A screen saver that displays moving images causes your monitor to consume as much as electricity as it does when in active use. These screen saver programs also involve system interaction with your CPU that results in additional energy consumption. A blank screen saver is slightly better but even that only reduces monitor energy consumption by a few percent.

When not in use, turn off the juice
Research reveals that most personal desktop computers are not being used the majority of the time they are running and many personal computers nationwide are needlessly left on continuously. Every time we leave computers or lights on we waste electricity. Burning fossil fuels generates most of our electricity and it also emits pollutants, sulfur, and carbon dioxide into the air. These emissions can cause respiratory disease, smog, acid rain and global climate change.

Consider doing the following:
o Turn off your computer and/or peripherals when they are not in use. Turning them on and off will not harm the equipment.
o Don’t run computers continuously unless they are in use continuously.
o Turn off computers and peripherals at night.
o Look for ways to reduce the amount of time your computer is on without adversely affecting your productivity.
o Unless you require immediate access to e-mail or other Internet services, break the habit of turning on all your computer equipment as soon as you enter the office each day.
o If practical, informally group your computer activities and try to do then during one or two parts of the day, leaving the computer off at other times.
o Avoid using the switch on a powerstrip to turn on all your equipment.
o If you use a laser printer, don’t turn your printer on until you are ready to print.
o Turn off your entire computer system (CPU, monitor and printer) or at least your monitor and printer when if you are going to be away from the computer for a little while.
Take proper care of your laptop batteries and dispose of them carefully
Follow the guidelines in your laptop manual, such as removing the AC adapter when fully charged, or totally discharging before recharging, to maximize the working life of a laptop battery. Many types of rechargeable batteries contain potentially toxic materials such as Cadmium, so dispose of them properly and carefully.

Don't throw your old computer away
Globally over 35 million PC's are thrown away ever year - yet there are many companies now recycling or reconditioning components or whole computers. Don't throw it away. Your old computer might be worth something either to a dealer, a local school or a charity.

About the Author
Vishal Dhar is CEO of iYogi, a next-generation computer support services company, headquartered in Gurgaon, India with offices in New York, NY. iYogi offers personalized computer support for small business and home office users. The company offers 24/7 phone and online assistance for technologies we use every day and supports products from a wide range of vendors. Utilizing proprietary technology, iMantra, and superior team talent, iYogi delivers higher resolution benchmarks and service levels than competing support services. iYogi recently launched a Green PC initiative, which is the first service in the independent computer support industry to offer customers a way to save money, conserve energy and protect the environment by optimizing their PC’s efficiency. For more information and a detailed list of supported technologies, visit:

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Aleutia E1 Solar-Powered Linux Computer

E1, the Aleutia solar powered Linux computer is so cool I had to share it. The E1 runs on just 8 watts of power; it has no moving parts, and like the ninjas who no doubt use it, it is completely silent.

The system runs Puppy Linux and comes with an optional solar panel; it is described as a 4.5 inch computer, but I don't think that includes a monitor. Presumably, you would view it on your videoshades like the new iCuity iWear.

Other reviewers can carp about the price ($400) and the specs (2 GB hard drive, 128 MB RAM adn 200MZ processor), but those of us who remember computers as distant behemoths that would sometimes answer your phone call with funny noises, it's a pretty cool little set of units.

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VIA Demos Eco-Friendly Education at Green California Schools Summit

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of power efficient PC platforms, today showcased a range of contemporary computing systems for the education market at the Green California Schools Summit, being held from December 4-6 at the Pasadena Conference Center in Pasadena, California.

With California at the leading edge of the green movement, the Green California Schools Summit will focus on the strategies, technologies and services that will ensure that schools can focus on eco-sustainability and provide a healthful learning environment for students. At booth 410, VIA will demonstrate client/server, desktop, notebook and ultra mobile partner systems that combine performance and affordability with industry-leading power economy.

Efficient computing with VIA’s pioneering processor platforms not only lowers electricity bills compared to traditional PC platforms, it significantly reduces computer-generated ambient heat, making the school environment quieter and more comfortable as well as cheaper to keep cool. It also extends the lifespan of internal components for greater system reliability, and as much as doubles battery life in mobile devices for practical education application. Of course, lower power consumption also eases demand on the current fossil fuel-burning power generation infrastructure, thereby reducing climate-warming carbon emissions.

“Power grids across the globe, and particularly in California, are under increasing strain as our need for electricity continues to grow,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “We see the Green California Schools Summit as a great opportunity to show some of the most important institutions in the country that there are real, affordable products that help manage the power problem and fully meet their next-generation education needs.”

Innovative, Efficient Computing for Schools
Perfectly suited to classroom-based teaching and with measurable benefits in manageability, security, reliability, scalability and lower electricity bills, thin clients from both Devon IT and HP will be on display at the summit. Around 50% of the thin client market is powered by VIA, with the power saving VIA Eden and VIA C7 processors specially designed for ultra compact, quiet systems with no moving parts, allowing for enhanced client performance. The VIA booth will also showcase the EPEAT Gold award-winning Zonbu PC, which delivers all the power of a traditional desktop computer but uses a fraction of the energy: an average of just 12 watts.

Additionally, see how Ultra Mobile Devices (UMDs), like the Samsung Q1b and TabletKiosk eo v7110, are being used to great effect in educational settings. VIA is a clear leader in the ultra mobile space, with over 30 partner products in the market and many more exciting designs on the way. The extreme energy efficiency of the VIA C7-M ULV processor, specially designed for ultra mobile handheld PCs, extends battery life to as much as double that of devices based on competitor platforms.

The VIA C7-D Processor and Carbon Free Computing
Traditional desktop PCs are still highly relevant in educational as well as office settings, but VIA has pioneered a green approach to this market too. With an average operating power of just 2 watts and an absolute maximum of 20 watts, VIA’s flagship desktop processor, the VIA C7-D, is designed to cater to a new breed of computer users interested in limiting their impact on the environment. Working with environmental experts, VIA calculated the electricity used by the VIA C7-D processor, and from that determined how much carbon dioxide will be produced as a result of electricity provided by power plants burning fossil fuels, and is working with regional organizations to offset that carbon dioxide.

Offsetting the carbon dioxide created through use of the C7-D processor is done through regional projects which fall into three broad categories:

* Reforestation: Planting trees that absorb (sequester) carbon dioxide as they grow, in different areas around the world
* Alternative Energy: By implementing projects utilizing alternative energy such as solar power, power plants don't need to burn as much fossil fuel, thereby reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment
* Environmental Conservation: Projects aimed at protecting our environment through donations to recognized, reputable groups that work to preserve carbon-absorbing wetlands and other necessary ecosystems

“Since the introduction of our first processor in 2001, VIA has led the industry in the design of energy-efficient x86 platforms and has enabled new generations of low power computing devices,” said Richard Brown, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. “By offsetting the CO2 from what is already a very power efficient component, we hope to provide a sustainable computing solution by which governments, schools, enterprise and consumers can effectively reduce their carbon footprints.”

VIA’s most recent investment is in a 30.4MW wind farm in Turkey: Anemon Enerji. The new construction consists of a grid connecting 38 wind turbines and has anticipated electricity output of 108,000 MWh per year, which is expected to reduce the equivalent of 74,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. In the absence of income generated from investments such as that from VIA, operation of the wind farm and resulting environmental benefits, would be unachievable.

Anemon Enerji has been certified by The Gold Standard, a certification scheme that recognizes the best projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and voluntary offset markets. Over 49 non governmental organizations, including Greenpeace, REEEP, and WWF International, endorse the Gold Standard method.

VIA has also invested in reforestation projects in the UK, and established several solar powered ICT centers around the globe, such as in Ulutogia, Samoa and Bourem Inaly, Mali. These projects not only benefit the environment by reducing the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, but serve the local communities with access to information, going some way towards bridging the information divide that exists in developing nations.

For more on VIA’s carbon free projects, please see the Green Computing Initiative pages on the VIA website: .

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E-waste Questionnaire: Windows to Linux

IS Switching from a Windows-operated computer to a Linux-operated one could slash computer-generated e-waste levels by 50%?

The answer is: YEs

A UK government study in late 2004 reported that there were substantial green benefits to running a Linux open source operating system (OS) on computers instead of the ubiquitous Windows OS, owned by Microsoft. The main problem with Windows users was that they had to change their computer twice as many times as Linux users, on average, thereby effectively creating twice as much computer-generated e-waste.

The report, titled, "Office of Government Commerce: Open Source Software Trials in Government - Final Report" reported the following:

"There are also potential Green Agenda benefits, through reducing the energy and resources consumed in manufacturing replacement equipment, and reducing landfill requirements and costs arising from disposal of redundant equipment.

"Industry observers quote a typical hardware refresh period for Microsoft Windows systems as 3-4 years; a major UK manufacturing organisation quotes its hardware refresh period for Linux systems as 6-8 years."

(Source: EcoGeek; California Environmental Protection Agency)

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Survey: Apple users more likely to be Green Minded

Apple users are proportionally more eco-friendly than users of other vendors' PCs. Moreover, they're more willing to plunk down extra cash for green products.

That nugget of information is one of many findings in a report just released by Forrester Research titled "In Search Of Green Technology Consumers: Why Tech Marketers Should Target This Emerging Segment." Forrester surveyed computer users to determine the extent of their green leanings and what drove their environmentally conscientious practices (or lack thereof).

The report finds that, all told, 12 percent of U.S. adults are "bright green," which Forrester defines as those who are "concerned about the environment and global warming, and strongly agree that they would pay extra for consumer electronics that used less energy or came from a company that was environmentally friendly."

Moreover, another 41 percent of U.S. adults are "green consumers": those who "share concerns about environmental issues and global warming, but do not strongly agree that they would pay more for environmentally-friendly electronics."

The remaining 47 percent of the population "do not (yet) share the greens' concerns about the environment or global warming."

Forrester found that 14 percent of Apple users are bright green. From there, the list breaks down like this: 13 percent of Compaq consumers are bright green; then 12 percent of Gateway users; 11 percent of eMachines buyers; 10 percent of Dell fans; 9 percent of Toshiba users; 9 percent of IBM/Lenovo consumers; and 9 percent of consumers who buy their PCs from "Other" vendors. Below the "Other" category are HP users, 7 percent of whom are bright green. (The report notes that these numbers don't reflect the green practices of the companies themselves.)

Forrester notes that PC vendors are already making efforts to embrace more environmentally friendly practices and deliver greener products for several reasons: to appeal to consumers' ever-evolving eco-leanings; to deflect criticism from watchdog groups such as Greenpeace; and to adhere to regulations such as Europe's ROHS directive.

Those greener practices are taking several forms: designing products in a more conscientious manner; boosting system energy efficiency; cleaning up their manufacturing processes; using less wasteful packaging and transport methods; and making it easier for users to recycle their PCs.

Looking forward, Forrester predicts "that green-targeted PCs and other electronics will evolve as part of the consumer electronics industry's move to go beyond "beige box" design and styling and instead incorporate consumer style into its products."

Indeed, we've already starting seeing some of this since Forrester conducted its survey in Q2 of this year. Dell, for example, recently released a greened-up version of its Inspiron desktop. Everex is also focusing on the greenness of its recently unveiled TC2502 Green gPC, which runs on Linux.

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Going Green to Save Green

Nearly 7 in 10 respondents have started down the green road, with 24 percent currently using or pilot-testing green computing solutions and 45 percent more in the planning stage of at least one initiative. Of the 17 percent who have no plans to implement a green solution in the next 12 months, 26 percent don't see an ROI in adopting green computing, 15 percent report that it is not in the budget, and another 15 percent state that their companies' energy costs are not high enough to justify the investment.

Environmental considerations are certainly stirring a lot of interest in going green. In fact, 86 percent of survey respondents said green computing is at least somewhat important to protecting the environment. Among those respondents who report that they are embracing green computing, however, the underlying motive appears to be protecting the bottom line more so than protecting Mother Nature: Almost three-quarters, 74 percent, of companies adopting green computing are doing so to reduce energy costs. Half are adopting such practices to extend useful life of hardware. Meanwhile, 31 percent are doing it to reduce harmful emissions attributed to global warming and health problems.

In regard to power bills, few companies, 24 percent, reported that their energy costs have increased over the past 12 months; 60 percent don't anticipate those costs will increase over the next three to five years. Still, as noted above, three-quarters are adopting green IT practices to lower power bills.

Energy costs alone aren't at the forefront of many a business leader's mind; there's also concern about future supply. Around two-thirds of the respondents agreed that the nation is facing an imminent power shortage and that energy saving measures must be taken to ensure future business growth.

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